So I’m watching a younger friend in what from my vantage point looks like a life and death struggle of values and wills about how to deal with his failing parents.
His father’s now 89; his mother’s 86, and they’re both on the steep and slippery slide toward needing major attention and care. His father is clearly suffering from some form of dementia, seemingly deteriorating by the day. His slip of a mother is frail and just a week ago broke her elbow in a fall and tests show osteoporosis is going to be a major health issue.
My friend is very focused on his career and social status. He really does have what’s often called a ‘trophy wife’. And two still young kids who are keeners and work hard at school and all the other activities they’re pressed to take.
The more evident his parents’ ills, the more he dives into his work and presses ‘the wife’ into service—to deal with his parents, support them, take them where they have to be taken, and even cook for them.
I know for a fact that he really loves his parents, and feels his achievements are due to their full court press on focusing his life, education, and career. Yet right now, he’s avoiding them and working harder than ever.
I have no idea what’s happening in his head at the moment. I only see conflict: the deeply rooted love vs. the distance he’s keeping.
Something’s out of whack. I think his drive for career success is a bit of a refuge because maybe he doesn’t know how express his affections and caring for his parents.
Do you take a regular reality check of where you stand in your support of aging parents?